Copy & paste hinders variation creativity.

Posted by: TrueMusic

Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/06/12 11:58 PM

So in the last couple pieces I've written, I've tried to avoid using copy/paste as much as I can unless it's for a repeated acc. pattern, etc. But definitely not for major sections of the piece. The result has definitely been more subtle variations in repeated themes which adds interest.

I think that for a lot of young composers, since we tend to start composing in finale pretty early on, get used to that function and sometimes it can hinder our creativity.

thought from some of the older guys here?

[Also I'd love comments on my fire piece if you have a moment! People have viewed the thread but not left comments, frown. If I need to upload it in a different format let me know.]
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 12:03 AM

Whoops. For your thread, sorry... The other (big) thread took probably too much notice... Sorry. I'll bump it after I post here.

_______________________

Composing on Finale, for me (or Sibelius, or Notion), is like building an IKEA furniture without the manual. I don't know if this coming across correctly...

Finale and Sibelius are the tools to help you create a great looking score, NOT to compose on. At least not for me. For all the reasons that you list and many more: The tools available in Finale (retrograding, transporting, copy pasting, etc) are all pretty much set and default. When you compose you don't think "I'll use technique A and then technique C and then I'll be back in the main theme and I'm done", no... So using set/default techniques only makes things worse rather than better.

Of course copy pasting happens a lot in the classical area too. It's not forbidden to do anything like that. But computer copy pasting is usually evident from the composition itself, exactly because the small things are missing...
Posted by: LoPresti

Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 12:43 AM

WARNING: Personal Opinion! I am generally against using ANY tool, other than one's brain, to compose. Even something like the piano-tool frequently gets in the way, and here's why:

ANY tool brings with it its own set of characteristics and strengths and limitations. In that way, it imposes part of itself on your composition quite naturally. If we are using a software tool, it will be all-too-easy to use the cut-and-paste feature, just as you mention. If we are composing at the piano, and want the sound of a true glissano, we are out of luck, and forced into the compromise of writing a bunch of little chromatic notes.

If you are able, divorce yourself from the tools, except pencil and manuscript paper. Picture the instrument(s) for which you are writing. Hear their sound - full. And WRITE!

When you are "written-out", then take the paper to your instrument of choice, and check it for accuracy. Make corrections, as necessary, and then back to the pencil and paper. Write until you run out of time, or run out of ideas. Tomorrow will bring more of both.

You are obviously not used to this process, so it will take some practice at first.

When everything is written on the manuscript paper, then, and only then, (just like Nikolas advises), turn to the software to make your score and parts look pretty.

. . . from one of those "older guys"
Posted by: currawong

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 01:22 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
Finale and Sibelius are the tools to help you create a great looking score, NOT to compose on.
This. Just quoted it so that we'd read it again. smile
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
At least not for me.
And me, as you will have guessed.
Posted by: Nikolas

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 02:08 AM

Ed, I agree with you 100%

And since this is an opportunity to show off, here's a couple of manuscripts of mine (including the pencil that I ALWAYS use (in relation to another recent thread here).

http://www.nikolas-sideris.com/AGS/picture%20464.jpg

and

http://www.nikolas-sideris.com/AGS/picture%20465.jpg

My take on the subject, in an even deeper state than before is that our brain and nothing else can get de-used from what we're used in playing, hearing, etc. If you sit at the piano, you're automatically locked into what your hands are used off playing. If you sit in front of the computer, you're used to what you're seeing and what Finale plays out. If you try things out and listen, you're getting tendencies to go to what you've heard before.

Nothing of the above is 'wrong' per se, but if not careful you end up doing pastiche a lot more than is welcome I think...
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 02:47 AM

Originally Posted By: Nikolas
My take on the subject, in an even deeper state than before is that our brain and nothing else can get de-used from what we're used in playing, hearing, etc. If you sit at the piano, you're automatically locked into what your hands are used off playing. If you sit in front of the computer, you're used to what you're seeing and what Finale plays out. If you try things out and listen, you're getting tendencies to go to what you've heard before.

ABSOLUTELY. The ideas (inspiration, if you will) should not come from the instrument, and it certainly can not come from software. I believe you have written before about simply repeating old habits when one composes with an instrument, and that bears repeating again and again.

In the first photograph, your eraser is worn down -- it looks like you have been working again!
Posted by: BeccaBb

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 03:07 AM

Great pics! I see my problem now.. I use a pencil that isn't even half as sharp and on horrid paper.. LOL

Btw, what manuscript pads are those? They look nice.

Can't add to this subject, too new. Interesting read though. smile
Posted by: TrueMusic

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 03:16 AM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
Originally Posted By: Nikolas
My take on the subject, in an even deeper state than before is that our brain and nothing else can get de-used from what we're used in playing, hearing, etc. If you sit at the piano, you're automatically locked into what your hands are used off playing. If you sit in front of the computer, you're used to what you're seeing and what Finale plays out. If you try things out and listen, you're getting tendencies to go to what you've heard before.

ABSOLUTELY. The ideas (inspiration, if you will) should not come from the instrument, and it certainly can not come from software. I believe you have written before about simply repeating old habits when one composes with an instrument, and that bears repeating again and again.

In the first photograph, your eraser is worn down -- it looks like you have been working again!


Such a great point! This was the exact reason I moved from composing at the piano - I found it so difficult to write things different from what I had done before! Perhaps someday soon I'll move to composing completely on paper first...right now that would be difficult and annoying since I need to have finale files ready for my comp lessons each week and am already short on time, so I tend to input straight into finale [although recently I've stopped using a midi keyboard, which helps me be more creative with parts rather than simply playing on the keyboard what I normally play on a piano.]
Posted by: keystring

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 10:36 AM

I caught up to this thread last night. I have a feeling that some unstated assumptions are in there, which has me curious. I've written stuff but am not giving it the name of "compositions" yet, and I took time off for theory where you also write things that could be considered mini-compositions, but ditto. I used to jot down music that came to my head in a kind of "shorthand" before knowing formal notation. When I did start theory, it was via an old fashioned book that insisted music be written down away from the piano - and thought "what else?". That's the context I'm coming from.

So when I read "away from the piano" I'm guessing that people compose by playing things and writing down what they play? Meanwhile for Finale, I know that it produces sounds while you input the notes. I find it annoying and turn it off. I'm guessing further that using Finale assumes using the sound feature so that again you're listening to how it sounds, just like the piano approach? But does it have to mean that?

I've used Finale because it's easier to read and notes are faster to input than drawing circles and lines by hand and then filling in the circles. At the same time I find it slower and more cumbersome than paper because you can't just erase a note and put in a different one without all the notes sliding over then sliding back. You can't just stick in an accidental or tweak your spacing without doing sophisticated programmy things (which the cheap Finale Notepad won't let you do). You can't take your score over the piano to check if your ideas sound like you imagine they sound. Yes, I know the playback feature does that, but I need to have the notes under my fingers.

Oops - I've lost the question. It's this. When I read the opinion yesterday that it is bad to input notes into Finale, I didn't get it. Whether I draw a C or stick a C into a score, it's the same as "drawing" the letter "d" by handwriting a paragraph with the word "doggerel", or typing that letter "d" in the word "doggerel". It does not affect the story I'm writing. So I'm wondering whether the idea is tied together with the fact that Finale produces sound (which we are not obligated to have turned on).
Posted by: LoPresti

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 12:24 PM

Originally Posted By: LoPresti
ANY tool brings with it its own set of characteristics and strengths and limitations. In that way, it imposes part of itself on your composition quite naturally. If we are using a software tool, it will be all-too-easy to use the cut-and-paste feature, just as you mention. If we are composing at the piano, and want the sound of a true glissano, we are out of luck, and forced into the compromise of writing a bunch of little chromatic notes.

Hemmingway “wrote” while standing up, at his mechanical typewriter. His reasoning for NOT doing drafts in longhand was that the sheer CLUMBSINESS of editing (inserting or changing) on the typewriter forced him to have his concepts more completely formed before writing. He felt this added to the depth and completeness of his word-scenes.

Stay with me here now! This is a prime example of an artist leveraging how a tool INFRINGES upon his work, to actually improve the work itself. Sadly, most of us are no where near that level . . .
Posted by: currawong

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 03:48 PM

Originally Posted By: keystring
When I read the opinion yesterday that it is bad to input notes into Finale, I didn't get it. Whether I draw a C or stick a C into a score, it's the same as "drawing" the letter "d" by handwriting a paragraph with the word "doggerel", or typing that letter "d" in the word "doggerel". It does not affect the story I'm writing. So I'm wondering whether the idea is tied together with the fact that Finale produces sound (which we are not obligated to have turned on).
My version of Finale doesn't produce sound when you input the notes (yes, it's that old) so my point wasn't that. I think the idea was that all the fancy things Finale can do (copy and paste was the one the OP mentioned) can actually drive the composition process, rather than being notation shortcuts. So instead of using copy&paste to save time where there's a repeated passage, you may use it to fill out the next bit of the piece, to compensate for lack of ideas. That was the "danger" expressed.
Posted by: keystring

Re: Copy & paste hinders variation creativity. - 12/07/12 10:01 PM

Yes, I would agree with that. I also imagine that starting first with notation programs might (or might not) interfere with a more direct link forming with music. They said the same thing about calculators in the classroom.